The Author's Guild v Google suit recently produced a settlement agreement. The agreement has been lauded widely, but what hasn't gotten as much press is what the agreement says about orphan works -- copyrighted works whose author cannot be found, or where it is not clear if the copyright is valid.
Interestingly, the agreement describes a scheme where money is collected for the use of these works, but if it goes unclaimed for five years, is then disbursed to the book registry, as well as to all participating authors!
That is to say, Google and the Author's Guild will be asserting (monopoly) control and the right to profit from works that might otherwise be in the public domain.
Lewis Hyde (author of The Gift), Harry Lewis, (former Dean Of Harvard College) and the Open Access Trust are seeking permission to file a motion to intervene in the suit (and settlement agreement) on behalf of the public domain.
This is a letter written to Judge Denny Chin, the judge presiding over the Author's Guild v Google suit, requesting a conference with respect to a motion to intervene in the suit.
The moving parties seek to intervene in order to "represent the community of readers, scholars, and teachers who use orphaned works" and "defend our interest in orphaned works to defend the public domain's claim to free, fair use." The moving parties " think that this case and the constitutional issues of national moment that it presents will be better resolved if the public domain has a seat at the table."
It's a exciting development, and will ideally lead to an even better resolution of the issues surrounding the digital archiving project.
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- Authors' Guild v Google: opt-out is evil, except when we do it ...
- Xeni op-ed on Authors Guild lawsuit against Google Print - Boing Boing
- Authors Guild sues Google over print program - Boing Boing